What is a Pop Artist? A common answer to this question is that a pop artist is a creator who particularly specializes in making pieces that use imagery from pop culture. Well, simply enough, that’s exactly what a pop artist is. But don’t be fooled — being a pop artist and what can be classified as pop art also has its many complexities and ‘guidelines’ for being called such.
And while pop art — as with any other art form — does not intend to impose strict rules as to whether a piece can be called pop art or not, it doesn’t hurt to know more about how pop art came to be and what common styles and techniques pop artists usually incorporate in their works in the current generation.
Let us take a deeper look at what makes someone a pop artist. As mentioned earlier, pop art mainly makes use of elements from popular and mass culture. The pop art movement first started in the United States and the United Kingdom in the mid-1950s as an answer to the growing consumerism culture in the said countries.
The growing trend of pop art came as a surprise for many since it first emerged because it shied away from the elitist atmosphere that art was used to be known for back then. A complete opposite of fine art, pop artists enjoyed stretching the boundaries of their works into previously unknown territory.
Ignoring the invisible walls built by the more snobbish and sophisticated group of artists, pop art was a channel for the common people to express their creativity in a more relatable and personal way. Indeed, the rebellious nature of pop art has inspired many artists to create ideas and masterpieces that have helped nurture the pop art movement into a global trend that continues to be appreciated to this day.
Besides the use of vibrant colors that definitely stand out, pop art is known for its use of popular imagery mainly in the realm of advertising. From everyday products such as soda bottles to famous celebrities and companies, pop art is a common ground for different kinds of things associated with the words “trendy” and “popular”.
Richard Hamilton, a pop artist in the 1950s, recognized pop art as a form of expression for the masses, he said, “Pop Art is: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big business.”
Besides Hamilton, many other pop artists have gone on to make their mark in the pop art scene with their famous works. Examples of which are American producer Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans which featured the popular food company’s products, and Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl — an oil painting that is regarded by many as a “masterpiece of melodrama” and one of the most significant works to represent the pop art movement.
In a nutshell, a pop artist is someone who thinks out of the box of formality that fine art is made up of. To be a pop artist is to drop the fanciness of traditional art by preferring a more grounded approach to expressing one’s creativity. A pop artist is someone who is connected with the masses. Someone who rebels against the presumptuousness of the world with each and every stroke on the canvas.
Check out some of my pop art paintings.